PropTech and the Changing Role of Real Estate Agents

Did cell phones really help real estate agents? Yes, without any doubt. Cell phones did transform the industry by taking away all the limitations concerning mobility. Real estate agents were able to keep in touch with their clients irrespective of geographical barriers. Besides, agents can get in touch with their prospective clients while on the go and vice versa.

Technology has ushered in new possibilities in the real estate industry. Mobile phones constitute just one facet, whereas there lies a diverse array of technology tools and solutions capable of disrupting the real estate market altogether. As real estate is a people-focused business, more leads for a broker meant more sales. And real estate technology does bring in new ways to improve sales.

Being a real estate agent, thinking that technology will leave you jobless is entirely baseless. The truth is, failing to utilize the latest technologies will certainly make you lag behind and miss out on some of the huge benefits that await you. In fact, a recent survey by the real estate brokerage reveals that home buyers are increasingly seeking technology-based tools from real estate agents.

With real estate turning more fast-paced and competitive, buyers are on the lookout for agents armed with real estate software tools to streamline the home buying process and help them make informed decisions quickly. In fact, the Real Estate in a Digital Age report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) identifies several tech tools like social media, MLS site, brokerage’s site etc. apart from cell phones and email as catalysts to produce quality leads in a real estate business.

Related Read: How Realtors Are Winning Tenants With Innovative Mobile Apps

Real Estate Agents Still Holds Significance

We all know that nowadays a majority of buyers are doing most of their home search process themselves. Different mobile apps, websites, and digital platforms open up a wide range of potential properties based on the buyer’s interest. There are even alerts and notifications for new listings that exactly matches a buyer’s interest.

In a majority of the cases, we find that the buyers are doing most of the legwork when it comes to actually search for property listings. But that’s just an initial search and occupy only a small portion of the overall buying process. Once they find their listing, the buyer needs to call in an agent to physically get into the home and inspect it or even to draft a proper offer for submitting.

Even though it is clear that while buyers are increasingly adopting technology-based tools, they still require the guidance of a real estate agent to minimize delays and seamlessly guide the buyer to the closing process. Relying heavily on technology may present a risk, particularly in commercial property sales where the buyers are trading in millions. An agent’s expertise is highly sought after to effortlessly navigate the buyer and settle on the best listings that will guarantee high ROI.

Technology-based tools allow buyers to take some steps or responsibilities of the agents themselves. They can find the listings and close in the process without the assistance of an agent. However, it will never act as a full replacement for the expertise of a professional realtor.

Related Read: Real Estate Industry in the Digital Era

Technology is still inadequate to deal with several tasks that come under the work process undertaken by a real estate agent. From consolidating the list of documents to getting around the loopholes in placing offers and drafting contract term and policies, the role of a realtor gains the upper hand and stays relevant where technology fails.

According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, buyers still prefer working with a real estate agent for around 87 percent of the time to find properties worthy for sale or purchase. Many home buyers still rely on the advice from a trusted real estate agent when it comes to acquiring, selling or leasing properties.

However, technology tools clearly lack the ability to gauge specific information concerning a property such as its future value. Experienced realtors, on the other hand, can easily assess whether a highly rated property do carry any expected value and thus guide the home buyer to make an informed decision.

Technology will actually allow an agent to do an improved business. It enables an agent to better engage with their customers, optimize their business and zero in on deals that earn them the most profit. Besides, technology makes realtors more efficient, which helps them serve a larger client base with utmost satisfaction.

Digital transformation is now a key aspect of every sector. And it has been there with the real estate industry for years. The biggest trend now is probably the change in the mindset of agents by embracing technology to serve buyers who are increasingly tech-driven.

Technology Helps Realtors Serve in Many Ways Possible

As a real estate agent, what should you do?

As an agent, can you think of doing large volumes in a traditional way? You will find that it is really hard to extend services to your customers. However, technology can help agents serve a lot more people at the same time. Selecting the right technologies will allow agents to become more efficient – to serve more buyers in less time, resulting in more revenue generated.

Using a property management software can also help real estate agents make the buying process of their clients easier. With mobile apps making a big impact on the industry, agents are provided anywhere and anytime access to data and reports thereby extending more opportunities to share with their clients. The evolution of mobile apps has made it easier for both agents and buyers to communicate efficiently, schedule showings and meetings, and moreover make the entire process simpler. Besides, most of the apps available now are trying to organize things easier for agents.

Technology gave agents access to a huge amount of real estate data. These data can support the agents to take better decisions and will eventually provide them more opportunities. With the entire world shifting to data-driven practices, leveraging big data from real estate dealings and applying machine learning and AI helps make better recommendations and crunch out valuable insights that provide agents an overview to make clear and accurate decisions, which bring out more efficiency and revenue.

Related Read: How real estate technology helps predict property prices

If the buyers are performing their own searches, they get a better picture of the market, making things more realistic about what their budget will allow. On the other side, sellers will come to know what their properties are worth. But, they still need assistance to accomplish their goal of buying or selling, which means that technology will continue to revolutionize the market. However, when it comes to decision making, the customers will keep their trust with a real estate agent.

Down the line, agents who admit technology as a tool that can be adopted as a new way of conducting business and building successful relationships will ultimately lead the way. The key thing is to zero in on the right technology means that reaps true value. Teaming up with a sound technical partner having deep expertise in crafting successful technology solutions for the real estate industry will help identify and deploy the right one.

Related Case Study: Investing in PropTech solutions aids real estate firms streamline and digitize their existing processes. See how we came up with an innovative web-based application for a leading real estate brokerage to integrate their processes around a single platform here.

[Courtesy – Saïd Business School, University of Oxford]

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    About the Author

    Pradeep P

    As a part of the Project Management Office at Fingent, Pradeep has helped real estate firms leverage technology to bring process transformation. He actively engages with clients, understand their requirements in detail and conceptualize innovative technology solutions that seamlessly fits with their workflows.

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